Have you ever found yourself in a situation so out of your comfort zone that you’ve taken a moment to sit back and wonder ‘how did I end up here?’
It happened to me recently during a discussion over whether or not it was better for the piece of skin between two of a ladies most sensitive areas to be cut by a doctor, or to simply rip on its own accord.
HOW DID I END UP HERE? I screamed to myself.
To put the discussion in context, I was sitting in the Masonic Lodge Hall on Nile St on a cold winter’s night and the room filled with 20-odd eager mums and dads-to-be. It was an antenatal class run by the Nelson Parent’s Centre and at that moment in time, it was horrifying.
Call me a wimp, call me out of touch, call me unsupportive, but getting down to the nuts and bolts of how childbirth actually happens is something I’d hoped to avoid. I plan to be there for my wife’s birth – obviously – and I plan to support her as much as I can, but I have no plans to deviate my attention from the top half of her body.
This discussion shattered my naivety. I could not un-know what I’d been told, I could not un-think it. It will be ingrained in my memory forever and we’re still weeks away from the birth.
Predictably, most gasped with horror during the discussion. Strangely, some wanted to know more.
It was obvious that Jess, our teacher in the ways of childbirth, had had this discussion before with other classes and had similar responses because she wore an evil smile on her face. She was enjoying it.
Over the course of eight weeks, it was only one of many shocking pieces of information that proved how inept I would be as birth partner if I relied only on my prior knowledge.
“Where is a woman’s endometrium located?” Never heard of it.
“What’s wrong with how this baby is sleeping in its cot?” No idea.
“What are the stages of labour?” I couldn’t even take a guess.
Antenatal class expanded my understanding of childbirth to the point that it scared the crap out of me and I wasn’t even the one going through it.
I am grateful though, if there was no antenatal class, the real thing would have probably triggered a break down.
Several of the mothers in our class have already given birth and it’s been exciting following their progress. We have a private Facebook page set up and the thought that these people, most of whom were complete strangers two months ago, are going through the same thing as us, is comforting.
It’s exciting, it’s like counting the sleeps to the ultimate Christmas Day. The ultimate present.
And now that I’m armed with my newly-acquired childbirth knowledge, I hope to remain conscious for it.
But I’m still not cutting the cord.